Coat of arms

Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Senator for South Australia

Media Release
1 July 2020

Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan

Senator the Hon David Fawcett welcomes the release, today, of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan, including the significant upgrade of the Australian Defence Force’s capability and potency.

As Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, the Senator recognises the growing challenges in the Indo-Pacific, and welcomes the Australian Government’s explicit recognition that we no longer have a warning period of years to prepare for major threats to regional peace and security.

This key change in Australia’s defence posture – prioritising response time and lethality in the Indo-Pacific region – will enable Australia to provide a greater deterrent to our aggression in a deteriorating strategic and defence environment.

“It’s clear that we need to adapt to intensifying threats across the continuum of non-linear warfare, to keep Australians safe while protecting the country’s interests in a changing global environment,” Senator Fawcett said.

“While the 2016 Defence White Paper has seen substantial progress in building a more potent, capable and agile Australian Defence Force, the drivers of change identified in the White Paper have accelerated faster than anticipated.”

The Strategic Update contains three new strategic objectives: ‘to shape Australia’s strategic environment; to deter actions against Australia’s interests; and to respond with credible military force, when required’.

“Australia’s security environment is changing quickly, with militarisation, disruptive technological change and new grey zone threats making our region less safe,” said Senator Fawcett.

“Alongside policy realignment, the Australian Government is investing significantly – $270 billion over the next 10 years – in capabilities to give Australia better situational awareness and to support regional engagement, while substantially increasing our air and sea lift capability to ensure we can rapidly respond to threats as required.”

“In addition, our Government are ensuring Defence has more resilient supply chains and a stronger sovereign defence industry to ensure that Defence force equipment is available when it is needed, effective against evolving threats and affordable over the life of the equipment. This investment will also create more high-tech Australian jobs and enhance the ADF’s sovereign capability.”

More information regarding the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan is available here.